29 July 2014

Umbrellas and rain


Do you know why there are many mushrooms in the forest after rain?
It's because when it rains, fairies put up umbrellas in the forest but they often forget and leave them there.

ハリガネオチバタケ(Marasmius Siccus)

アオキオチバタケ(Marasmius aukubae)

22 July 2014


The rainy season is over and proper summer has come in Japan. Here are some of my summer sketches from the weekend.

The little terraced paddy fields in Hayama, Miura Peninsula.

棚田の脇の藪で見つけたニホンアマガエル(Japanese Tree Frog)

フクラスズメ (Arcte coerula)


ハマボウ (Hibiscus hamabo)

神奈川の海辺といえばトビ(Black Kite juvenile)

Sea Watching

I joined a seabird research in Sagami Bay and off the Jogashima island.
As we moved farther out to sea, the land scenery got lower and lower and it eventually vanished under the sea horizon.  Nothing could be seen but sea. It was a very calm day and the sea surface was very flat.  In the beginning, there were just a few streaked shearwaters flying around us.
Then we found a current rip and followed it along.
Suddenly, fishes were making ripples and we were surrounded by lots of streaked shearwaters flying, diving and floating.


ちょうど板橋区立美術館への往復を利用して、「海鳥の行動と生態―その海洋生活への適応(綿貫 豊 著)」を読み終えたばかりだった。ウミツバメ類やミズナギドリ類は、植物プランクトンが動物プランクトンに食べられるときに出すジメチルスルフォイドの臭いに惹きつけられて餌のある海域にやってくるという。そして餌場に来てからは目視で探索する。多くの鳥が餌を採っているところは、周辺の他の鳥も惹きつけるので鳥山ができるのだそうだ。

Japanese Murrelet in non-breeding plumage.

The highlight during this research was the brown noddy sitting on an orange buoy!  It's a very smart looking bird!  It sat there for long enough time for us to get closer and observe carefully.  Lots of streaked sharewaters were flying behind it.  

We also found a kind of ray!  
エイの仲間が泳いでいるのも見た! 残念ながら頭と尾の形ははっきり見えなかったけれど、風呂敷みたいな四角い体、ときおり水面上に出てくる胸びれはよくわかった。こんな生き物、本当に海にいるんだ! 背びれをピンと海上に突き出し、威厳たっぷりに泳ぐアカシュモクザメ?も数匹見られた。

You will never get bored of watching the sea.  (I know that I was supposed to look for special seabirds...) but watching the sea makes you think of and remember lots of things. 


17 July 2014

Wildlife Art Exhibition in Tokyo




Japanese Murrelets and Long-tailed Skua(left image) and Japanese five-lined Skink (right)
I exhibited these two prints at the Wildlife Art exhibition in Ichigaya, Tokyo.  Both images are created by two layers of linocut and some layers of monoprint.  

And below are samples of the sketches I made in the field, which are the bases of the two prints.



13 July 2014


I had a hard but inspiring week.  I joined a summer workshop for children's book illustrators at the Itabashi Art Museum in Tokyo.
The museum is now showing this year's selected artworks for the Bologna Illustrators exhibition. And of course, I spotted my talented classmate, Becky Palmer's work!

Every year during the Bologna Illustrators show, the museum organises this special workshop and invites a Bologna related teacher. This year, we had Magdalena Kłos-podsiało, an editor from the Wytwórnia publishing in Poland.  She brought several books by Wytwórnia and told us how she started the publishing house by herself and her husband and how she picks such a special selection of books to publish.  Several books were started from her ideas, she explained.  And she found the right writer and illustrator for it.  
 All her books are very much  "Bologna books" (hope you know what I mean by this!).   And...she has such a cute, cute smile!  All 20 participants of this workshop were charmed by her smile! 

板橋区立美術館の第17回「 夏のアトリエ」に参加してきた。絵本を作りたいイラストレーター20数名を対象にしたワークショップだ。今年は、芸術的なクオリティの高い絵本を出しているポーランドのヴィトフルニャ出版の編集者が講師だった。

She gave us a theme "Homo Lector (a person who reads)", which is a word she created.   And we each had to come up a picture book idea related to the theme.  Of course,  we were allowed to develop it in any direction.  I made a story about a book worm.  It was interesting and new for me to be given a theme and start an idea from there.  And it gave me a good opportunity to develop a rather conceptual book.

And this summer work shop reminded me so much of our MA course and the amazing variety of high quality picture books I've seen in Bologna Book Fair. I won't forget that world!  


7 July 2014


I like wild flowers a lot more than garden ones and normally don't fancy the latter.
But this Chinese trumpet vine is something that I adore. And as long as this flower is blooming, I can tolerate cement fences. The flowers look beautiful against the bare grey blocks.


6 July 2014


We were planning to have another sketching day at Terugasaki, the small rocky shore in Oiso, to draw White-bellied Green Pigeons coming to drink sea water. But since the weather didn't look promising, we had to cancel the event. (I know that British wildlife artists wouldn't have called off the event for drizzle. But it is hard to draw in the rain.)
Yet, I went to Terugasaki by myself just to see some green pigeons and to try drawing in the rain. Godo-san was there, too.


ウミウ(Japanese Cormorant)

Drizzle stopped for a while.  The hills on the Hakone side was in deep ultramarine.


アオバトがたくさん飛来しないと、スケッチはしにくいので、会としては中心にして正解だったかもしれない、と主催者としてはホッと胸をなで下ろした。 9月はむしろ飛来が多く、空気も澄んでいるからおすすめシーズンだというので、またリベンジでスケッチ会を企画しようかと思っている。
These green pigeons are summer visitors to the mountain forests in our area.  But they fly 30 kilometres or so to this tiny rocky shore to drink sea water.  It is said that they need salt (sodium) from the sea water in order to help absorb the water and nutrition of the berries they eat.

一号線沿いのパン屋さんアヴィアントの「大磯のアオバトクッキー」。わたしが昔描いたアオバトの絵をシールに使ってくださっている。照ヶ崎でアオバトを見た帰りには、記念にぜひ! ちなみにアヴィアントには、わたしの鳥グッズも少し置かせていただいています。

2 July 2014



Hypselodoris festiva
It's been hot and I can feel that proper summer days are coming!  I went to a rocky shore to find sea slugs.

リュウモンイロウミウシ(Hypselodoris maritima)


ハマナデシコ(Dianthus japonicus)
I think, drawing plants requires so much patience! And I seem to loose it even before I finish one flower!

スカシユリ(Lilium maculatum)

Having fun at the rocky shore, I remembered my first tide pool watching experience. I had to dig out my old notebook from the 3rd of July, 2004, when I was a high school student.

In those days, I would only carry a tiny note like this in the field.  I could only draw a few lines.  I think the doodle on the bottom right is the sea slug, which I painted this time.  

And after coming back home, I would spend all my time writing my field diary, copying guidebooks.     I miss those days. I didn't have to to do anything else and I could learn so much about nature.